Gonzaga knocks off Wilson for state baseball crown

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Wilson's DCSAA title bid fell short against Gonzaga's powerful bats. (courtesy of Cory F. Royster Photography)

Two years ago, Gonzaga’s then-underclassmen found themselves on the diamond at Nationals Park vying for the D.C. State Athletic Association championship. They were trying to hold down the fort while filling in for the senior Eagles, who were missing the game due to graduation.

On that day, the eaglets found a way to capture the state title. And this Sunday afternoon, those same eight players took the field as seniors and, alongside their teammates, delivered the school’s second DCSAA crown after drubbing Wilson 9-1.

“These seniors had gotten it done before at Nats Park,” said Eagles coach Andy Bradley. “The senior class — all eight of them — trusted in what our coaching staff told them to do and bought in. When you have a group of seniors that lead and buy in, you have a chance. You have to have that senior leadership to have a season like we had.”

The team relied on senior pitcher Will Thomas to guide the team through six innings. The Eagles’ ace rang up three strikeouts and allowed just four hits and one run from the mound.

“He has done it for us the last three years,” Bradley said. “He pitched a complete game as a sophomore in Nats stadium a few years ago. He’s a big game pitcher. He’s the best pitcher to come through our program since I have been here. He’s a guy that wants the ball.”

Offensively, the Eagles had several runners step up and score. Senior Tommy McGee and senior Brendan Gibson each notched a pair of runs. In addition, Jason Shepherd, Shane Tomb, James Delaney, Jacob Hardney and Kyle McKenzie each scored a run. Overall, Gibson led the team with three hits and Delaney had two.

“It was a bunch of guys in the middle of our lineup hitting the ball all over the field,” said Bradley.

Gonzaga led 3-0 after three innings, but in the fifth the team broke it open, scoring four runs to push the lead to 7-0.

In the bottom of the seventh, Bradley sent senior Daniel Agate to the mound to close out the game. He delivered three outs and the save.

“It was a fun night, and I was excited about it for our seniors. It was a good note for them to go out on,” said Bradley. “Obviously, you’re not going to fill the stadium, but our crowds — Wilson’s fans and ours — were really good. It was very energetic for being such a large venue.”